Royal AM Punish Arrows To Advance In Nedbank Cup

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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 11: Elias Pelembe of Royal AM during the Nedbank Cup last 16 match between Golden Arrows and Royal AM at Princess Magogo Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 11: Elias Pelembe of Royal AM during the Nedbank Cup last 16 match between Golden Arrows and Royal AM at Princess Magogo Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Royal AM defeated KwaZulu-Natal rivals Golden Arrows 3-1 in extra-time to secure their spot in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon.

Nedbank Cup

Result: Golden Arrows 1-3 Royal AM

Date: 11 March 2023

Venue: Princess Magogo Stadium

Royal AM made four changes to the side that beat Sekhukhune United, as goalkeeper Zakahle Ngcobo, Ricardo Nascimento, Ruzaigh Gamildien and Mfundo Thikazi were recalled.

Arrows, meanwhile, switched four places around from their narrow loss against SuperSport United, as Bongumusa Nkosi got his first start of the season alongside recalls for Sbonelo Cele, Ntsikelelo Nxadi and Nduduzo Mhlongo.

The sides were going at each other in the early stages, as Gamildien came close to giving Royal AM the lead with a free-kick that curled just over the top corner and Divine Lunga forced a save out of Ngcobo with a pile-driver for Arrows.

As the game opened up, Thwihli Thwahla were given a penalty on the half-hour mark after shot-stopper Siyabonga Mbatha collided with Mokete Mogaila in the box. Nascimento stepped up and broke the deadlock for the visitors with a composed spot-kick.

The latter phase of the first stanza, however, could not get going, with a couple of injuries, including the forced substitute of Mbatha, who succumbed to a shoulder injury from his collision with Mogaila and was replaced by Nkosingihphile Gumede just before the interval.

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Arrows were fired up from the break and Knox Mutizwa nearly pulled them level nine minutes later with a dipping free-kick from the edge of the box that forced a flying save from Ngcobo.

John Maduka's charges were a threat on counter-attacks as Mbhazima Rikhotso had a close-range chance at the near post but his shot was repelled by Gumede.

Abafana Bes'thende looked to change the game from the bench in the closing stages, as Nduduzo Sibiya replaced Nkosi for fresh legs in attacking midfield and Ryan Moon came on for Lunga in an attacking and tactical switch.

The changes for Arrows made an immediate impact, as Sibiya was involved in attack eight minutes before time that saw Moon release Mutizwa with a defence-splitting pass but the Zimbabwean's chip was saved by Ngcobo in a one-on-one.

Abafana Bes'thende piled on the pressure in the dying minutes and Mutizwa eventually snatched the equaliser in the last kick in stoppage time with side-footed shot that went in off the post after he was teed up by Moon and the game immediately went to extra-time after a 1-1 draw.

After neither side could find opening in the first half of extra-time, a mistake at the back by Gumede with ten minutes to go led to Mashiane going clear on goal to restore the lead for Thwihli Thwahla with a shot into an empty net.

Arrows were up against it a couple of minutes later as they were down to ten men after Philani Cele got a red card for a dangerous tackle on Moon.

Abafana Bes'thende shot themselves in the foot again in the tail end, as Mashiane pounced behind the defence and fired home the third goal for Royal AM and a second for himself as his side advanced to the last eight.

Here's how they lined up:

Golden Arrows: Mbatha, Mhlongo, Nkosi, Mantshiyane, Cele, Lunga, Nxadi, Ndwandwe, Mmodi, Makhubela, Mutizwa

Subs: Gumede, Magawana, Sibiya, Khumalo, Magubane, Ndlovu, Hlatshwayo, Moon

Royal AM: Royal AM: Ngcobo, Nascimento, Gamildien, Matlaba, Manganyi, Kobedi, Mahlasela, Pelembe, Mogaila, Potsane, Masuku

Subs: Mpoto, S.Cele, Rikhotso, Msomi, P.Cele, George, Thikazi, Mashiane, Ncobeni

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